NEW YORK — When Curtis Lazar netted the first goal of Game 6, there was an ominous feeling around Madison Square Garden that the New York Rangers’ luck had run out in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Of course, that’s not how Gerard Gallant’s team has been built over the last few seasons. The Rangers’ motto of “No Quit in New York” has been with the team for over a year now. And when the roster needed it most, they stuck by that manta to take Saturday’s Game 6 by a 5-2 margin — forcing a Game 7 back in New Jersey.
“We know the character and the type of guys we have in this room,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “A lot of guys stepped up and played big games tonight. We’ve been in this spot before so we know what it takes with the season on the line and we have to bring it.”
Saturday night tested the Rangers’ resolve in more ways than one. Apart from being down 1-0 early in the first period, New York also had a struggling power play that was unsuccessful in their last 14 tries. But the Blueshirts kept attacking with the man advantage and finally broke through late in the first. Mika Zibanejad scoring his first goal of the playoffs after hurting his hand early in the contest was also an example of New York not breaking to the young and speedy Devils’ roster.
It wasn’t always easy for the Rangers on Saturday night – even if the final score showed another convincing win. In all three victories this series, New York has outscored their rivals by a 15-4 margin. But that isn’t indicative of success in a potential Game 7 to their leaders in the locker room.
“I don’t think it matters how you win at this point in the season,” forward Chris Kreider said. “I think sometimes when you go up, the other team has to open up a bit to get opportunities. Some of these games are a lot closer than the score might indicate.”
Even with the show of resolve, there’s one focus for the Rangers coming up: Game 7 at the Prudential Center. New York has taken two of the three games on the road in this series, but the Devils are coming off a 4-0 beatdown in Game 5 at home.
In short, the Rangers know what is in front of them – it’ll be up to them to continue to stand true to their “No Quit in New York” mantra.
“We knew this was a two-game deal,” Trouba said. This was the first one but this one won’t mean much if we can’t win this last one. We’ve been in this spot before, played in Game 7’s on the road before so we gotta play that same game.”